Our Year, 2020


It seems wrong to be saying happy New Year with life how it is as the moment, but I am hopeful that 2021 is going to be a lot more positive and 'normal' than the year we had in 2020. Things can't really get much worse at the moment can they? But I love to start off every new year with a round up of the previous year, and although last year won't be one we'll ever forget, I know there was still some lovely memories amongst the madness.

You can read my roundups of 2015, 2016, 20172018 and 2019 here, and of course read on to read all about our 2020. I wrote monthly updates throughout 2020 too, so I'll link those too for a more in-depth look at each month.

January started out with so much optimism about the year ahead. We had so many exciting things planned including holidays, trips away, and special family celebrations! We spent New Year's Day at the seaside, and of course celebrated Lilah's second birthday with a little family party at home, a trip to soft play and of course plenty of cake.

February brought rain, and a lot of it! We managed lots of local days out in-between the storms, and sorting out our car that had to go in for repair. Half term felt like a welcome relief and although we didn't get up to much, the littles and I had lots of fun enjoying lazy days at home and taking life at a much slower pace.

Of course we ended the month taking our family snaps at Knole Park. We've managed a photo in this spot for 5 years now - how amazing is that? We can literally watch our family grow before our eyes!

The first few weeks of March were spent in ignorant bliss, completely unaware of how upside down our lives were about to become. For World Book Day we had a Cinderella and a pirate - both costumes from the dressing up box because I am definitely that kind of school mum. Indie learnt to ride her bike without stabilisers, and Jack and I managed to squeeze in a child-free day out in early March too - our last until July! 

And then of course Corona arrived, schools closed and the world locked down. Because Parker had a temperature and a cough we had to isolate at home for 2 weeks too, so we spent a lot of time in the garden, baking, printing countless bits of work from Twinkl so Indie and Parker had some sort of school structure, and there were definitely a few tears thrown in too.

Thankfully our isolation ended at the very beginning of April, so we could get out for our one bit of exercise every day. Those daily walks became my lifeline, and we actually discovered so many lovely places to explore right on our doorstep. The sun got the memo too and we had such beautiful weather in April that we had the paddling pool out and our first (of many) BBQs of the year. Of course we enjoyed the bluebells and blossoms that April brings, and we had a lovely Easter Sunday with an egg hunt in the garden.

April was an exciting month for Lilah as we decided we'd use lockdown as the perfect time to potty train. She was totally ready though and despite a few ups and downs the first few days she cracked it in no time. And because apparently we don't do things by halves, we also switched her cot into a toddler bed too. Such a big girl!

We got a few more freedoms back in May so we could explore further than our local area. We could enjoy picnics on our walks instead of trying to not stay out too long, and ice creams were definitely a daily occurrence. The weather continued to be beautiful too - it's as if it knew we all needed something positive to enjoy! 

The caterpillars we got back in April turned into butterflies and we released them in the garden. They didn't stick around for long, but it was such a lovely experience for us and the littles. 

June will always be remembered as the month our lives got back to a bit of normality. Schools reopened for Reception, years 1 and 6, and early years were welcomed back too. Jack went back to work after almost 11 weeks at home, and Indie and Parker went back to school on June 3rd. It was very different though as their classes were split in half and Parker didn't have his original teacher, they had to distance as best as they could, and even have their lunches at their desks. Both of them were SO happy to be back though, and the chance to breathe after an intense few months was very much enjoyed by me.

The most exciting part of may was definitely getting to properly meet and squish my new nephew Jaxson. It makes me so sad that we had to wait 8 weeks, but it was totally worth it. It was so lovely to be reunited with my sister and other nephews and niece too - especially to see the cousins playing together again after so long apart.

Parks, shops and restaurants opened back up again in July, and I think we visited a different park a day over those first few weeks to make up for it. We were allowed to meet up with friends and family again too which brought back so much joy. Days out including a beautiful summers day at Hever Castle, strawberry picking, and of course a trip to the seaside for fish and chips and paddling in the sea.

We surprised Parker with a trip to Legoland for his 5th birthday - a moment I captured on film that I will cherish forever! We decided to buy Merlin Annual Passes so also managed trips to Chessington and Thorpe Park, visited Sea Life Weymouth and went to London for a trip on the London Eye in August too.

As our holiday was cancelled earlier in the year we booked a few days away in Weymouth. It was nothing fancy, just a few days in a Premier inn, but it was just what we needed - even if we almost melted thanks to the heatwave and no air con! Just watching the littles swim in the sea and enjoy the aquarium was perfect for us.

It was also my birthday in August, so we celebrated with Afternoon Tea at our wedding venue. Jack and I then got to enjoy a day of thrills at Thorpe Park just the two of us and dinner out, as the littles had their first sleepover at nanny's in many many months. Bliss!

School was fully back on in September (although with lots more rules and changes), so Indiana started year 2 and Parker headed into year 1. Lilah started preschool, and although she had a bit of a shaky start, she settled in well and adapted to the changes in place for Covid well. Both of the big two were fully back at their out-of-school clubs too which made our weeks feel incredibly normal! We spent our month enjoying the last of the sunshine and the freedoms we were allowed.

Jack and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, with what turned out to be our last time just the two of us for a while. We got into a routine of muddy autumnal walks and then super relaxed Sundays at home - a routine that suited us perfectly! 

We managed to get away on our long-weekend break to Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk at the start of half term, a holiday that was a true blessing in disguise as we were put back into lockdown just a few fews later. We got to enjoy the pool, play in the arcades, spot seals on the beach at Horsey Gap and even ride a few rides on Great Yarmouth seafront.  

Jack booked the rest of half term off work so we got to enjoy the week all together again. We went on our annual pumpkin picking trip, to Legoland for their Brick or Treat event and celebrated Halloween at home with a yummy feast and party games. 

We were put back into lockdown in November, meaning everything had to close again and we weren't allowed to see family and friends properly. Thankfully schools and early years settings remained open, so we just filled the weekends with muddy woodland walks, lots of lazy days at home and a trip to the seaside for fish and chips. 

Indie turned 7 at the end of the month so we had a little party at home just the 5 of us, with a takeaway pizza for dinner at her request. I was so sad we couldn't give her a proper birthday or party, but she was glad she got to see friends at school and loved her cake and presents. We then got into the festive spirit early with a trip to Hever Castle and put up the Christmas tree.

We came out of lockdown and straight into Tier 3 (so exactly the same as lockdown, but shops and a few other places opened up again). We managed to squeeze in a visit to Father Christmas before Indie was sent home from school to isolate due to a positive case in her class. And then just as she was allowed out again, I had to get a covid test because of a cough. Thankfully it was negative, but the isolation period meant that both littles finished school early!

Even more restrictions were announced and we got moved up to Tier 4 - everything closed and no mixing at Christmas. It was devastating but we still managed to have a lovely Christmas period at home just the 5 of us. It was different, but I'm hopeful next year we will all be back together again.

The year ended with even more bad news. Case levels are rocketing and despite all the current restrictions, schools are remaining closed for at least a few more weeks. It's not the way I thought 2021 would be starting, but I really am trying to remain positive about everything. There are vaccines now being administered and we are on the countdown to Spring, so I have everything crossed we will get some normality this year.

2020 was a rollercoaster, but it gave us time together as a family and helped us to enjoy the little things more. I mean it won't be one I'd be in a hurry to repeat, but it did have it's beautiful moments too!

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